Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins, a journalist, writer, podcaster, DJ, television personality, and photographer, has added “designer” to his long list of artistic pursuits with the new Terminator High sneaker he created for Nike’s 2023 Yardrunners 4.0 campaign to represent his alma mater, Morehouse College.
A group of Nike employees who graduated from historically black institutions and universities established the Yardrunners in 2020. Jenkins was a member of the Yardrunners 3.0 cohort at Morehouse, which highlighted HBCU alumni who are leaving a legacy to encourage future generations.
The group collaborates with HBCUs nationwide to mark the unique history, culture, and fashion of those schools, students, and alumni through on-campus activities, scholarships, and merchandise like sneakers and clothes.
Jenkins is one of five former Yardrunners to have the chance to design a sneaker this year, along with graduates from Spelman College, Tuskegee University, Alabama A&M, and Tennessee State. The renowned Terminator High is this year’s model for colleagues to use as a canvas.
He recounted his journey to Andscape, saying, “I remember getting on campus and I had a little chest [filled with my sneakers] that I had to talk to my roommate about the first day like, ‘Yo, bro, this is my pride and joy. You need to protect this like we protect the rest of the room. Don’t let no one steal my s—.’”
“Morehouse has that long legacy, that long lineage. The first time you get to campus, they let you know that you’re standing on the shoulders of people before you, and it’s on you to keep that baton passing. And I thought a lot about those days and that conversation throughout the design,” he added.
Jenkins enrolled in engineering as a freshman in college and considered dropping out as his grades began to deteriorate. He met Dr. Elania J. Hudson, a professor, during this time, who gave him a nudge in the right direction.
“I ended up in her marketing and advertising class, and she just took me under her wing and gave me a ton of confidence, perspective, and inroads into my future,” he disclosed.
The entrepreneur continued to stay in contact with her even after he graduated with a degree in marketing in 2009. She continued to encourage him with the words, “Stay excellent” and “You got this.”
As a memorial to Hudson, Jenkins printed those lines on the inside of one of the sneaker’s tongue tags, along with her name.
“She loved Nike. She loved Morehouse, and she loved her students,” said Jenkins. “I can say that without a doubt, I would not be where I am without her. And I was like, ‘Man, if anyone would be more excited about this project than me, it would be her.’ My only real regret about this project is that I can’t get her a pair to wear, and I can’t open up that box with her and show her how far we’ve come.”
Morehouse officials said the collaboration “represents a narrative combining personal and institutional pride with an unwavering commitment to authenticity.”
Jenkins printed the word “brotherhood” on the laces, nodding to the bond between men who graduated 50 years ago and the Men of Morehouse who haven’t yet stepped onto campus, in addition to incorporating Morehouse’s maroon and white colors into the sneakers, which Nike lists as night maroon and summit white.